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It's both easy and hard to answer your questions, Barbara. Easy to say we probably share a similar view of a tired and fucked-up world (yes, the world always was, but there are ups and downs and we're on a down that might be terminal) and a desire to speak with a new, energetic, and authoritative voice that might help humans live more generous, linked lives on a breathing planet. That, to develop a voice, we've discussed using, and use to a greater or lesser extent, tools that (are not mutually exclusive and) include

  • this Scoop site, its community exchanges (virtual and real), its writings and comments, its debates, its capacity to attract new participants;

  • monitoring the activities of the European Union and attempting to have some (small) influence on them -- this has at best led to a couple of contributions to EU Consultations;

  • pushing out sketchy pseudopodia that correspond to a wish to watch, monitor, critique, formulate policy, communicate to the media, in other words develop a think-tank personality;

  • since Ritter has been mentioned, another possibility is "networking", using connections to find receptive ears in the corridors of power;

  • an overarching project at least some of us have discussed is the creation of a new narrative for society and the economy, to replace the one anti-progressive, aggressive capitalism has used to turn the world to its profit over the last thirty years.

The hard thing is to say what we can actually do with the time at our disposal. Try doing all these things at once? I don't think it's possible. Some of them are beyond us at the moment -- the think-tank, for example, or the connections (though Mig might be right that the connections will come). None of us can be full time on ET, many of us are stretching the time we can give. We need more people, particularly Europeans (non-Europeans please don't take umbrage, this place is open to the world but its focus is European). We can invite family, friends, acquaintances, contacts to tune in here, but above all we can collectively contribute to make the place intelligent, attractive, alive -- and accessible to those for whom English is not their first language. For the moment, I think that's quite a lot of work for apprentice train-stoppers.

Sorry if this sounds discouraging.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Nov 21st, 2006 at 03:41:48 AM EST

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